Mines rescue brigades from across Qld and NSW descended upon the NSW Illawarra mining district to compete in the 58th annual Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition on Thursday, 20 October 2022.
The annual event sees the top mines rescue brigades vie for the coveted national title. Four Qld teams and four NSW teams competed in the competition; the first time it has been held since 2019 due to COVID restrictions.
The teams are the best of the best, having gone through a series of competitions to earn their place, however there can be only one winner and at the end of the fierce competition the Anglo American team from Grosvenor Mine were named the 2022 Australian Underground Mines Rescue champions.
The Peabody team from Metropolitan were runners-up, followed by Anglo American’s Moranbah North Mine team who took out third place.
The Australian Underground Mines Rescue Competition is run by a committee of joint representatives from NSW Mines Rescue and the Queensland Mines Rescue Service. It is hosted on a rotational basis each year and held in different mining regions.
The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the industry in the case of an emergency. Events like these allow the brigades to test and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.
The day’s format includes several underground and surface simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in realistic scenarios, including exercises to test hazard awareness, underground search and rescue, first aid and firefighting.
Queensland Mines Rescue Service Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ray Smith, said that the event is important for the Australian underground coal mining industry.
“It brings together the best mines rescue teams from Australian underground coal mines to compete and demonstrate their skills and knowledge. At the end of the day, we celebrate the success of the best team on the day but it’s the industry that gains the most from the experience and learnings gained by team members.”
NSW Mines Rescue General Manager, Wayne Green congratulated all the teams for their efforts during the day.
“Everyone here today has put in 110 per cent which is testament to the calibre of our volunteer brigades. Competitions such as these form an essential part of brigades training. They sit at the core of what Mines Rescue is about and are paramount to ensuring that we can apply, practice and hone our brigade’s skills and put all their training to the test under pressure. This event is the result of countless hours of planning to deliver realistic, challenging scenarios but also to ensure a memorable experience for all involved.”
Grosvenor team captain, Boyd Buschmann, recognised the efforts of the teams and those involved with planning and executing the competition.
“Today was one of the best Australian rescue competitions I’ve been part of, and I’ve had the privilege of competing at four of them. It had some of the hardest and physically challenging exercises which really tested us, which is a credit to the organisers from Queensland Mines Rescue, NSW Mines Rescue and Tahmoor.
“On behalf the team, I would like to also acknowledge the support we’ve had from Anglo American and Grosvenor Mine. On a personal note, I would also like to thank our families at home for the commitment they put in to allow us to train; they are the reason we can do what we do.
“Lastly, to the team. It’s been pleasure. Having the support of an outstanding vice captain and a team of competent and dedicated rescue members has been one of the keys to our success, so thank you.”
Peter Vale, Executive General Manager Coal Operations at SIMEC Mining in Tahmoor, said the mine was proud to host the first competition after a two-year hiatus.
“On behalf of SIMEC Mining, I’d like to congratulate Boyd Buschmann and the team from Grosvenor on their victory and thank the Coal Services Team and our own staff for their hard work in putting on a great event.
“We have long supported Mines Rescue, which not only provides some friendly competition between mines, but importantly helps the teams hone the safety skills and techniques they would need to call upon during an emergency response situation.”
The winning team will be invited to represent Australia at the International Mines Rescue Competition which will be held in Colombia in 2024.